The biggest smash hit game of the summer (and subsequently the quickest to fizzle out) was running on the Unity engine.
Do you know what we’re talking about? Pokemon GO! Certainly, a game that was fun while it lasted. If you’re still playing, more power to you.
Unity is one of the most iconic gaming engines available today. For me, it easily rivals the Unreal engine in a lot of ways, and I know I am not alone in my sentiment. Unity has really come on the scene and taken away an ‘Unreal monopoly’ that was taking place in gaming.
Some of my favorite games use Unity as their engine. One of my top favorite games of the 2010s, Shadow Tactics, brilliantly uses Unity so you can execute a plethora of stealthy ninja moves against your enemies.
Okay, so the first question is: Is it easy to make a game in Unity? It all depends.
The best way to familiarize yourself with Unity game development is to download it and access some of its best tutorials. These can be absolutely crucial when it is crunch time, and you need a project done by a particular time.
Maybe you don’t want to build the next hit augmented reality game (or maybe you do–again, more power to you!), but you’re here because you want to learn some Unity! We’ve put together a list of 8 solid Unity game development tutorials.
You can use these guides to hone your skills and master Unity. Begin!
The Top 5 Unity Development Tutorials
1. Unity Site and YouTube
The official Unity 3D tutorials, from Unity itself, are divided into two sections. There are tutorials for learning the actual engine, then there are “services and production” tutorials, which teach you some “extra” features we’ll talk about later.
The tutorials for learning the engine will walk you through building different games. For beginners, there’s a “Roll-a-ball” tutorial. It’s a nine-part tutorial that does a good job of holding your hand through the process.
When you have roll-a-ball down, you can move into the “space shooter” tutorial section, where you’ll build a game revolving around asteroid blasting. We could all use more asteroid blasting.
Amidst these game-building tutorials, you’ll find other useful gems. One of the standouts is the procedural cave generation tutorial. It’s a tutorial that…yes, that teaches you how to procedurally generate caves. It’s a 9 part tutorial, and it’s for advanced scripting designers only! Don’t skip the basics and jump to procedural cave generation, you wild animals!
If you have questions, you can use the official forums. The different tutorials have their own forums, so it’s not complete and total mayhem over there.
Don’t let our 3D focus distract you from the 2D love! If 2D is your thing, you can check out the Unity 2D game creation section, which is chock-full of walkthroughs covering all the relevant elements you need to get cooking.
Remember the Services and Production section we talked about? Those tutorials teach you about topics such as Cloud Build, Game Performance Reporting, and give you some general Developer Advice.
You also might want to try Unity’s tutorial called “Coding in Unity for the absolute beginner“, it covers everything about coding in C#; it includes the basics of coding, variables, functions & classes and how you can use them. Basically, this tutorial is for someone who wants to learn to code in Unity but doesn’t know where to start.
Comparable knowledge and maybe some extra tidbits can be found over on the official Unity YouTube channel and make sure to check their wide range learning resources—it includes different learning styles for developers at all levels.
2. One Month Game School
A great quick-start option is the one-month game school. This site offers three courses on making games. The classes were put together by Brandon Wu, who had spent years working at EA and Sony but has since left and started his own game studio.
He designed the curriculum of his “Make a Game” course to take just four weeks of work on the side. In short, it’s a tutorial that takes a reasonable amount of time.
The second catch? There’s a $25 price tag on the course. You can get free material and $5 off a purchase by signing up for the email list. Still, if you’re strapped for cash, dropping $20 on a tutorial for slightly dated software might not be your cup of tea.
If you do take the plunge and start the course and proceed to hate it, you have a 14-day window to get a no-questions-asked refund. The good news, though, is that he’s received nothing but positive reviews from those students that have worked their way through his month-long course.
He teaches a combination of Unity and PlayMaker, so you don’t actually have to code through these tutorials. If you have some experience with coding languages, this isn’t the tutorial for you—it will be too basic. The inclusion of PlayMaker eliminates the coding element, so you’ll make your game code-free.
He also mentions that his course is kid-friendly; he’s had an 8-year-old take it alongside that kid’s parents. So, if you’re young and looking for a way to start, or you’re an adult looking for a program for your child, give this one a closer look.
He was once in your shoes, having to teach himself how to develop video games. He is a big proponent of learning by doing, which is what you’ll do with his tutorials: Dive right in.
3. Catlike Coding
If you need an introduction to the C# language, Catlike Coding could be your ticket. It takes you through the basics, each tutorial building on the one prior. Eventually, you’ll have a solid foundational knowledge of C#, and a good concept of how best to use it in Unity.
The tutorials are text-based. Images punctuate the lessons, making it easier to follow along, but there are no videos (if that’s your thing, check out one of the other options on this list).
Catlike Coding has two-game tutorials after you spend some time entrenched in C#, that end with a creation which in the right light, you could call a “small game”. One’s a pipe racing game, and the other is a maze game that takes advantage of procedural rendering.
Aside from asking for your patronage via his patreon account, the Catlike Coding tutorials for C# coding in Unity are free to use. If you can handle text and image walkthroughs, want to learn C# and don’t want to pay a dime, then give Catlike Coding a look.
The free options we’ve pitched are great so we’ll feature another potential pay-to-play tutorial winner. The Udemy online institution offers a course called “The Complete Unity 5 Guide: Unity Game Development Made Easy”
Right now it’s 80% off, meaning you can grab the course for just $19. It has a 4.4 star average across 176 reviews, meaning it’s not a bad use of your time. The course contains 17.5 hours of material, spread across 249 lectures.
The course revolves around building your own “dream” game (probably not a real dream game if it’s your first foray into game development, but it’s likely closer to the stuff of dreams than you would’ve gotten without the course!).
You need Unity 5 and a computer that’s able to run Unity 5. Lifetime access is granted to the course for a one-time fee. It’s best for beginners, but if you’re further along and want a game developing refresher, or some incentive to build something for your portfolio, this course could be a good option.
If you’re looking for an upper-tier option from Udemy, check out their “Learn to Code By Making Games – The Complete Unity Developer” course. It costs $195, but it has over 15,092 ratings and has an average of 4.6 stars. That’s some premium programming, folks!
You’ll learn C#, you’ll learn fundamental game design elements, you’ll be able to transfer your newfound knowledge to other languages, and you’ll learn about object-oriented programming in practice, all while fostering a positive attitude to problem-solving.
If that’s not out of your price range, give the course a look. It will be an investment in yourself, and one that you will likely thank yourself for years to come.
5. Tornado Twins
We have another free one, and it’s on YouTube, no less! This YouTube channel features all kinds of tutorials across different engines and different facets of game design. So, it’s worth browsing when you have an hour some afternoon.
After you’ve mastered the beginner and intermediate lessons for Unity 5, come back to this link. This particular link brings you to the first tutorial in their short series about the “hidden features” in Unity 5. It has some great features you might have otherwise missed.
This Youtube channel has a tutorial series on how to make a first-person shooter game using Unity, overall it has 8 parts.
MisterNinjaBoy also has this video tutorial that shows you the basics of Unity game engine and this is a must-watch video for game developers that are new to this engine or are still beginners. MisterNinjaBoy’s latest video of the Unity engine is the “Unity 5 Tutorial : Basics“, the video won’t be talking about the programming side of development but will only show you an overview of the engine to help you be comfortable using it when you start developing your own games.
7. Escape Inertia
Another Youtube channel, Escape Inertia; he has a series of unity 3d engine tutorials on how to make a game, it only has 2 parts though. However, he also has other interesting Unity engine tutorials like, how to create fire & snow in your game, how to make your unity game look better, and a few other more.
8. Daniel Wood
Daniel Wood’s Youtube channel is all about coding and computer-based design tutorials and guides. His series of Unity 3d Game development tutorials is 30 in total and 2d game development tutorials is a total of 27—overall he has 57 Unity engine tutorials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make a game in Unity without coding?
Actually, yes. I was surprised to learn that you can harness the power of one of Unity’s many assets, The Adventure Creator, in which you can develop 2D and 3D titles with no coding whatsoever.
Although you can use Unity without coding languages, I would still highly recommend getting at least a rudimentary knowledge in the various coding languages that Unity allows, as it will make you feel more secure and confident about your Unity game development.
How much do Unity developers make?
The average salary for a Unity developer is a nice $110,000. That is more for the veteran developers, as more entry-level positions start around 52,000. And $110,000 is just that average; way more experienced developers make upwards of over $180,000. Not too shabby, especially with that hefty number in your grasp!
Which programming language does Unity use?
What is Unity game engine?
Unity engine is a cross-platform game engine to develop games. It started out with an emphasis on PC gaming but quickly transitioned seamlessly into creating games for nearly every platform. You will see the Unity logo boot up before some of the biggest game releases, like Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight, Pillars of Eternity, and Angry Birds 2.
Along with some great releases, it has become the go-to development for the Wii U, so even huge names are making it part of their essential makeup.
What are the advantages of getting a Unity certification? Are there disadvantages?
Getting your certification is a prestigious accomplishment and will definitely show whoever is looking at your portfolio or resume that you know your stuff when it comes to Unity and game development.
Downsides include price, which can run upwards of $250 for a yearly license. You also need to take an exam and score at least a 70% on it to gain your certification. If you are okay with both of those, then definitely go for it!
How do I start learning the Unity game engine if I want to become an indie game developer?
The best way to start your indie game developer career is to check out these tutorials, and of course, download Unity to get a feel for Unity game development. Becoming an indie game developer isn’t something that will happen overnight. You’ll definitely need to bookmark those tutorials and keep trying. Keep in mind to experiment a lot as well.
What Unity tutorial order or preference should I follow in order to learn Unity game engine from the beginning?
You should have the Unity official documentation and tutorials as your ‘base’ and supplement them with more unofficial Unity tutorials like those on YouTube and elsewhere.
I highly recommend using the official site and documentation for just starting out. If you start with the people who first developed it, you really can’t go wrong. However, there are some fantastic YouTube channels dedicated to game engine development and tutorials that you should absolutely check out to modify your ‘toolbox.’
As a beginner, should I learn plain C# and VS first before learning Unity, or can I learn how to code using Unity?
You cannot code in Unity, as great as that would be! Instead, it would be best if you learned how to code using the various languages that Unity supports in its framework. However, you don’t need to be a coding expert in using Unity, as learning code doesn’t necessarily make you an expert in developing games.
I would recommend learning C# first as a foundation for your developmental knowledge, so you can better utilize what Unity offers right off the bat. This gives you a better idea of how assets, build, and an overall better idea of how Unity game development is really done.